Due to difficulties that prevented yesterday's page from being published, today's web will be limited. Buddy will be unable to update the site for the next few days so I will attempt to take his place.
Today's Opinion Piece:
America: A Note
Over the course of my life time I have become absolutely convinced of this one fundamental fact: the most important creation in the history of mankind was America. Many will view this quote as evidence of profound arrogance, ignorance or jingoism; I assure you that is incorrect.
First, allow me to define America. To me, America is not the continental 50 states of the Union – no, America is an idea. An idea of the greatest political and social importance. Just like the life of a butterfly does not start with wings; the story of America does not start in the New World. Just as you must understand darkness before you can comprehend light, you must understand the world before the idea of America.
All civilizations are controlled by the philosophy of its government. Primitive tribal civilizations had primitive governments governed by primitive philosophies. It is not by coincidence that the most impressive civilization of its time, ancient Rome, was strongly encouraged by their impressive advances in philosophy – aided by the Greeks. Western Civilization would never be able compare until the Age of Enlightenment, which saw a rediscovery of many aspects of Greek society – including its political philosophies.
After the fall of Rome, Europe fell into a period of history known of the Dark Ages. It was a time of low life expectancy, hard lives and limited technological or philosophical gains. The dominant political philosophy during this time was Feudalism, which I will define as: Any system that resembles the one used in the middle ages, where the people provided labour and military service to a lord in return for the use of his land. A form of contractual servitude.
I believe it can be reasoned that the cause of the “Darkness” for the Middle Ages was this flawed philosophy.
What concept did Rome and 18th Century Europe grasp that Feudalism missed? The concept of Individual Rights. Roman citizens had the freedoms to live his life as he saw it, a serf did not. A Romance citizen could become a soldier, or a grocer, or a gambler, or a gangster; serfs, on the other hand, lived to fulfill the needs of their land’s lord. When the rights to their own lives returned to Europeans, the region once again prospered.
As successful as these civilizations were, they were still hampered by their governments. The Republic of Rome became an Empire. Europe retained Monarchies. A constant throughout European politics was a concept of servitude to a higher power. This was perhaps always most clear economically. The monarchies of Europe all believed in an economic philosophy known as Mercantilism, which I will define as: economic theory and practice common in Europe from the 16th to the 18th century that promoted governmental regulation of a nation’s economy for the purpose of augmenting state power.
Of course thirteen of those mercantilist colonies would eventually become the United States of America. When thirteen individual colonies banned together to fight off the greatest empire on the globe, the world changed forever. The physical incarnation of the Age of Enlightenment, the philosophical purpose of this country was clearly stated in our Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.”
For the first time in man’s history a country was founded upon the single notion of individual rights – personal sovereignty. “All men are created equal”, and as such, no man (or woman) has any right to enforce his will onto another.
This seems like a simple concept, and one we take for granted today. But there are many who disagree with this notion.
Many have a cynical view of humanity, a portion believing that all men are inherently evil and unable of doing good without being coerced into doing so. Most hold views not necessarily that extreme; more properly described as the belief that civilization needs a guiding hand to keep it good – a benevolent, wise Big Brother. They want to ban Hummers, censor TV, and prevent two sovereign citizens agree upon a wage lower than a certain amount. You may agree with some of these ideas – that’s how subtle Individual Rights are.
Since our countries founding, our government has moved increasingly towards rejecting these Individual Rights. As time goes on, the concept of America suffers – greatly damaged by an increasingly tyrannical and incompetent federal government.
In many ways the current administration is the ideal embodiment of the new age of tyranny that threatens to destroy the idea of America. Our Constitution was structured in order to place power as close to the people as possible. For this reason the Constitution was meant to chain down the Federal government, allowing the state governments to legislate most of the issues concerning the lives of Americans. The 10th Amendment to the Bill of Rights states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
In spite of this, our current Federal Government believes it has the power to provide health insurance, to influence our behavior regarding the use of energy, or to limit our access to the internet.
When did our government become tyrannical? That’s an issue that worthy of a separate, full debate. However what we must realize is that how we came to this point is a lesser priority than figuring out how to emerge from it.
The reality is that our country is currently in a precarious position. Our global image is in tatters, pride in our country is low and trust in our government is non-existent. Our economy is being decimated due to incomprehensible tax code, overbearing regulation, a fundamental rejection of capitalism and an astronomical debt. Our need for political reform is obvious.
Only by realizing, and returning to, the principals that made America great do we ever have of reaching our potential.
I HOPE we do.